Psychomotor effects, pharmacokinetics and safety of the orexin receptor antagonist suvorexant administered in combination with alcohol in healthy subjects

Sleep aids have a storied and often rocky relationship with alcohol. Many are known to have adverse effects when taken with alcohol, and this relationship is important to study because people most commonly consume alcohol around bedtime. This study focuses on how the orexin receptor antagonist, suvorexant, interacts with alcohol.

The study showed that suvorexant when used with alcohol reduces reaction times and cognitive function. Suvorexant and alcohol have an adverse reaction and should not be used together. Basically, alcohol enhances the effects of suvorexant to unsafe levels. However, suvorexant is shown to be perfectly safe when taken as directed.

This study illustrates the need to consider how drugs interact with the things that we ingest besides prescription medications. Alcohol is known to cause adverse effects when used with certain prescription medications, and it is always a good point to remind patients to be careful about alcohol use whenever necessary.

Sun H, Yee KL, Gill S, et al. Psychomotor effects, pharmacokinetics and safety of the orexin receptor antagonist suvorexant administered in combination with alcohol in healthy subjects. J Psychopharmacol. 2015: 29(11): 1159-1169.

Effects of Initiating Moderate Alcohol Intake on Cardiometabolic Risk in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a team looked into the health benefits of moderate alcohol intake, a topic commonly debated. They randomly assigned participants to either drink 150 mL of mineral water, white wine, or red wine at dinner in a 1:1:1 ratio. All the participants had T2DM and were drinking more than 1 alcoholic drink per week or using an insulin pump. They were also required to follow a “Mediterranean diet” as outlined in their article. Blood samples collected at 0, 6, and 24 months were analyzed for lipid levels, glycemic control, and other data. After two years, the HDL levels in the red wine group significantly increased by 0.09 mmol/L, compared to the 0.04 mmol/L of the mineral water group. Bodyweight and blood pressure reductions among all the groups were about the same after 2 years. In participants with available DNA samples, the effect of the gene ADH1B, which encodes for an alcohol dehydrogenase, was also looked at. In people carrying the wild-type allele, glycemic control and blood pressure improvements were greater compared to those carrying the other allele.

The results of this study supports the idea that moderate consumption of alcohol can be beneficial towards ones health. The study did not see any negative effects from the daily consumption, so it safe and may help reduce cardiometabolic risk. Reading this article helped dispel my previous notion that drinking wine wasn’t actually beneficial to health. I had thought that it was just a misconception and didn’t actually have any scientific evidence to back up the claims of its benefits. Seeing that this study only looked at white and red wine, I am curious to see possible future studies on the benefits of other types of alcohol, like beer, spirits, and other alcoholic beverages.

Ann Intern Med. 2015;163:569-579.